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Can my rig be upgraded for current gen gaming without buying a new motherboard?

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June 4, 2013 1:55:33 PM

Hey guys, I have an upgraded HP Workstation xw8200, and here are my specs:

- Two single-threaded Intel Xeon 3.0 GHZ processors
- 4GB RAM (only 3.25GB usable due to only having 32-bit Windows XP)
- ATI Radeon HD6850 1024MB

I can play many graphically demanding games currently, but some of the latest games that have come out are unplayable for me even at the lowest graphics settings. I currently play War Thunder a lot (amazing F2P combat flight sim), and get about 20FPS on average with medium graphics settings, which is great, but not optimal. I also want to play Planetside 2 as unoptimized as it is, but my CPU is bottlenecking me badly and I get 10 FPS max in most battles with the lowest graphics settings. Is there any way to squeeze out more performance without exceeding a budget of about $200? I'm looking at replacing my CPU's with some of the better Xeons out there, but I'm not sure if that's even possible or if they're built in to the MOBO. Any suggestions?

Thanks!
June 4, 2013 2:47:09 PM

Depends on exactly which Xeon CPU you are talking about. It could be socket 1155, 1366 or 2011.

Socket 1155 = Yes, you can. Sandy Bridge or Ivory Bridge (check for CPU compatibility)
Socket 1366 = 1st generation Nehalem Core i7 CPU. Basically dead.
Socket 2011 = Sandy Bridge-E series. The Haswell-E CPUs are expected to come out in Q4 2013.
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June 4, 2013 3:02:33 PM

jaguarskx said:
Depends on exactly which Xeon CPU you are talking about. It could be socket 1155, 1366 or 2011.

Socket 1155 = Yes, you can. Sandy Bridge or Ivory Bridge (check for CPU compatibility)
Socket 1366 = 1st generation Nehalem Core i7 CPU. Basically dead.
Socket 2011 = Sandy Bridge-E series. The Haswell-E CPUs are expected to come out in Q4 2013.

Hmmm, CPUID tells me I have a Socket 604 mPGA. Not sure if that helps or not.

According to Wikipedia it looks like I have a lot of options (although they might be outdated still):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socket_604

The Xeon Tigerton is almost 3.0GHz but it's a quad-core CPU. Is it any better than what I have?
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June 4, 2013 3:14:09 PM

Fisrt you would have to find out if they are in fact soldered into the MB, that would end all speculation on upgrading. You may be running into the fact that games may not be able to recognize the two separate processors and be only seeing the one single threaded CPU.
You can research your computers upgrade capability or post the model number of it so we can look it up to see what the CPU socket info is. A lot of games today are wanting a quad core and some games may be able to use a dual core but the days of single core are done.
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June 4, 2013 3:17:45 PM

The Xeon Tigerton is almost 3.0GHz but it's a quad-core CPU.

This would be a good choice if the price is ok. The next challenge is to find them.
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June 4, 2013 3:20:58 PM

inzone said:
The Xeon Tigerton is almost 3.0GHz but it's a quad-core CPU.

This would be a good choice if the price is ok. The next challenge is to find them.


Cool! Should I hop on this deal?
http://compare.ebay.com/like/230977262970?var=lv&ltyp=A...
Edit: this deal is not longer available

The model number for my motherboard is HP 08b4h if that helps at all.
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June 4, 2013 3:35:54 PM

That looks like it might work and they are only $40 for the pair so it's certainly cheap enough to try. They are socket 604 and that's what you have?
Do you have the model number of the computer?
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June 4, 2013 3:42:12 PM

inzone said:
That looks like it might work and they are only $40 for the pair so it's certainly cheap enough to try. They are socket 604 and that's what you have?
Do you have the model number of the computer?


Okay, I found this number on a sticker in the back of the computer:

2UA72213VC
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June 4, 2013 3:55:41 PM

Sorry I must have missed it being in the first sentence right at the top. :lol: 

Yes all signs point to those processors being compatable with your MB , you have a socket 604 and the specs do say that it's upgradable.
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June 4, 2013 6:06:47 PM

inzone said:
Sorry I must have missed it being in the first sentence right at the top. :lol: 

Yes all signs point to those processors being compatable with your MB , you have a socket 604 and the specs do say that it's upgradable.


Nice, thanks so much for your help! I have one last question though. The Xeon Dunnington looks to be a step up. It's a 2.4GHz 6-core server processor!! Is that even practical for gaming?

Actually I think that would be way out of my budget. So definitely 4 slower cores is better than one faster CPU?

One more thing! Might these be a better alternative for gaming?
http://computers.t7jones.net/Item_i26069

They are only dual core but 3.4Ghz. I hear that most games don't even use quad cores nowadays anyway.
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June 4, 2013 8:49:15 PM

Currently I have the i7-3930K which is a six core processor, of course there are several reasons why I have it and while it does have six cores, all six cores are not used when gaming and it will be some time before it ever would be. One of the advantages of having six cores or even more is for multithreaded applications and for having multiple programs running at the same time.
Say you have two or three monitors and on the main one you have your game running and on the other two there are programs , a movie and a web browser. All these things would have their own thread and therefore nothing would suffer from all this being open.
So for just gaming a six core is not needed and a quad core is the preferred processor.

Dual core processors used to be what was needed for gaming and slowly over time the quad cores are becoming more popular. You would need to look at the minimum and recommended requirements for the games to get a feel for what you need for a processor, you don' want to do an upgrade only to find out that in less then a year you need to do another.

I don't remember the last time I had a dual core and have been using six cores for the last 5 years and quad cores before that.
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June 4, 2013 9:35:18 PM

inzone said:
Currently I have the i7-3930K which is a six core processor, of course there are several reasons why I have it and while it does have six cores, all six cores are not used when gaming and it will be some time before it ever would be. One of the advantages of having six cores or even more is for multithreaded applications and for having multiple programs running at the same time.
Say you have two or three monitors and on the main one you have your game running and on the other two there are programs , a movie and a web browser. All these things would have their own thread and therefore nothing would suffer from all this being open.
So for just gaming a six core is not needed and a quad core is the preferred processor.

Dual core processors used to be what was needed for gaming and slowly over time the quad cores are becoming more popular. You would need to look at the minimum and recommended requirements for the games to get a feel for what you need for a processor, you don' want to do an upgrade only to find out that in less then a year you need to do another.

I don't remember the last time I had a dual core and have been using six cores for the last 5 years and quad cores before that.


Understood. Thanks for all the useful info. Unfortunately, I've had multiple people on other discussion websites say that even though the Xeon dual core and quad core processors may be Socket 604, they will not function on a HP xw8200 motherboard. This is due to the xw8200 not having up-to-date driver support for the BIOS which would allow for multiple core CPUs.

This means I may be stuck with only single-core CPUs. I have found a good deal on a pair of single-core Xeon 3.8 GHz processors for around $20, but I wonder how much that is really going to improve my performance. Keep in mind that my processors are pretty much always bottlenecking my GPU.
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June 4, 2013 10:27:14 PM

Chrispins said:

This means I may be stuck with only single-core CPUs. I have found a good deal on a pair of single-core Xeon 3.8 GHz processors for around $20, but I wonder how much that is really going to improve my performance. Keep in mind that my processors are pretty much always bottlenecking my GPU.


The Xeons from that era are Pentium 4 style. Which predate all the advances from Core and on. Like 8 generations behind today's Haswell.

A $64 Pentium G2020 (Ivy based) would blow those Xeons away and run loads cooler.
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June 4, 2013 10:58:25 PM

Your system is archaic to be sure...

You would not benefit in games from having 2 separate CPUs as games are not designed to split loads among 2 separate CPUs, they're designed for more than 1 core...but not multiple CPUs.

Now, for $200, as was pointed out earlier, you could get something like the AMD FX6300 + Asrock 970 extreme3 MB and be in great shape. You would blow the doors off your current rig by a long shot.
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June 4, 2013 11:22:23 PM

8350rocks said:

You would not benefit in games from having 2 separate CPUs as games are not designed to split loads among 2 separate CPUs, they're designed for more than 1 core...but not multiple CPUs.


There's no difference as far as windows is concerned.
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June 5, 2013 9:30:57 AM

Cazalan said:
8350rocks said:

You would not benefit in games from having 2 separate CPUs as games are not designed to split loads among 2 separate CPUs, they're designed for more than 1 core...but not multiple CPUs.


There's no difference as far as windows is concerned.


It wasn't always that way though...which version of windows is he running?

EDIT: XP supports 1 CPU in home edition, if he's running professional it will see 2
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June 5, 2013 11:14:16 AM

8350rocks said:
Cazalan said:
8350rocks said:

You would not benefit in games from having 2 separate CPUs as games are not designed to split loads among 2 separate CPUs, they're designed for more than 1 core...but not multiple CPUs.


There's no difference as far as windows is concerned.


It wasn't always that way though...which version of windows is he running?

EDIT: XP supports 1 CPU in home edition, if he's running professional it will see 2


I am running off of XP Professional. In fact I think my task manager shows multiple processors running. According to CPUID each processor has 2 threads so I'm guessing that's why there are 4 windows open for CPU Usage History (4 threads in total):



Again, thanks for the advice and researching which upgrade would be within my budget. I was really not wanting to spend $200, but it's looking like anything else I do, no matter what the price, would be a waste of money in the long run. The AMD FX6300 looks like a total beast. I'll just have to take into account that I must buy new RAM. I'm not sure if I'll need a new power supply and case to go along with it too. I'm guessing my old hardrives should work fine with the new MB at least. Depending on the situation it could cost more like $500 it seems...
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Best solution

June 5, 2013 11:24:17 AM

Chrispins said:
8350rocks said:
Cazalan said:
8350rocks said:

You would not benefit in games from having 2 separate CPUs as games are not designed to split loads among 2 separate CPUs, they're designed for more than 1 core...but not multiple CPUs.


There's no difference as far as windows is concerned.


It wasn't always that way though...which version of windows is he running?

EDIT: XP supports 1 CPU in home edition, if he's running professional it will see 2


I am running off of XP Professional. In fact I think my task manager shows multiple processors running. According to CPUID each processor has 2 threads so I'm guessing that's why there are 4 windows open for CPU Usage History (4 threads in total):



Again, thanks for the advice and researching which upgrade would be within my budget. I was really not wanting to spend $200, but it's looking like anything else I do, no matter what the price, would be a waste of money in the long run. The AMD FX6300 looks like a total beast. I'll just have to take into account that I must buy new RAM. I'm not sure if I'll need a new power supply and case to go along with it too. I'm guessing my old hardrives should work fine with the new MB at least. Depending on the situation it could cost more like $500 it seems...


FX6300 = $112-120
Asrock 970 Extreme3 = $75
4 GB DDR3-1600 MHz = $30-40
Corsair 500W PSU = $40-50
WD 1 TB HDD = $64

You can get all of it for about $300 if you shop online and buy smartly. Go to www.pcpartpicker.com and it will tell you who is cheapest. If you live near a Microcenter, you can likely get away even cheaper than that.

EDIT:

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/13hCO
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/13hCO/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/13hCO/benchmarks/

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($119.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.98 @ Outlet PC)
Motherboard: Asus M5A97 LE R2.0 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($68.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($36.15 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.98 @ Outlet PC)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $350.08
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-05 14:27 EDT-0400)

That's with an upgraded cooling system for CPU and new HDD. Without those 2 items you come in around $260. I would recommend the better cooling system, the stock AMD rig is quite noisy and not nearly as efficient. The Asus MB is a good one, and newegg just put it on sale, so it would be as good or better than the Asrock I suggested above.
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June 5, 2013 11:48:21 AM

8350rocks said:

FX6300 = $112-120
Asrock 970 Extreme3 = $75
4 GB DDR3-1600 MHz = $30-40
Corsair 500W PSU = $40-50
WD 1 TB HDD = $64

You can get all of it for about $300 if you shop online and buy smartly. Go to www.pcpartpicker.com and it will tell you who is cheapest. If you live near a Microcenter, you can likely get away even cheaper than that.

EDIT:

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/13hCO
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/13hCO/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/13hCO/benchmarks/

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($119.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.98 @ Outlet PC)
Motherboard: Asus M5A97 LE R2.0 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($68.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($36.15 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.98 @ Outlet PC)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $350.08
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-05 14:27 EDT-0400)

That's with an upgraded cooling system for CPU and new HDD. Without those 2 items you come in around $260. I would recommend the better cooling system, the stock AMD rig is quite noisy and not nearly as efficient. The Asus MB is a good one, and newegg just put it on sale, so it would be as good or better than the Asrock I suggested above.


Wow that PCPartPicker website is really cool. I've never heard of it until now. The prices are pretty decent considering what I get (pretty much a new PC). I looked at the frame form factor of my case on the HP website and it said it's E-ATX (12" by 13"), so will all ATX hardware work in an E-ATX case? Sorry for asking so many questions!

EDIT: I Googled the question like I should have in the first place, and it looks like the answer is yes. I may take a picture of my motherboard to make sure with you guys.

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June 5, 2013 12:02:16 PM

E-ATX is actually a bigger case than ATX...so you'll have some extra room in there...otherwise it should work.
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June 6, 2013 4:39:58 PM

I'm seriously considering buying at least the FX-6300, with the rest subject to change. I think it would be worth investing into getting my PC at least up to standards for gaming. Thanks for the advice
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June 6, 2013 4:43:25 PM

No problem :) 
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